True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) in Macaronesia
MetadataShow full item record
The True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus, True 1913) is a poorly known member of the Ziphiidae family. Its distribution in the northern hemisphere is thought to be restricted to the temperate or warm temperate waters of the North Atlantic, while a few stranding records from the southern hemisphere suggest a wider and antitropical distribution, extending to waters from the Atlantic coast of Brazil to South Africa, Mozambique, Australia and the Tasman Sea coast of New Zealand. This paper (i) reports the first molecular confirmation of the occurrence of the True’s beaked whale at the southern limit of its distribution recorded in the northeast Atlantic: the Azores and Canary Islands (macaronesian ecoregion); (ii) describes a new colouration for this species using evidence from a whale with molecular species confirmation; and (iii) contributes to the sparse worldwide database of live sightings, including the first underwater video recording of this species and close images of a calf. Species identification was confirmed in two cases using mitochondrial DNA control region and cytochrome b gene markers: a subadult male True’s beaked whale that stranded in El Hierro, Canary Islands, in November 2012, and a subadult male found floating dead near Faial, the Azores, in July 2004. The whale that stranded in the Canary Islands had a clearly delimited white area on its head, extending posteriorly from the tip of the beak to cover the blowhole dorsally and the gular grooves ventrally. This colouration contrasts with previous descriptions for the species and it may be rare, but it exemplifies the variability of the colouration of True’s beaked whales in the North Atlantic, further confirmed here by live sightings data. The recording of several observations of this species in deep but relatively coastal waters off the Azores and the Canary Islands suggests that these archipelagos may be unique locations to study the behaviour of the enigmatic True’s beaked whale.
Aguilar de Soto , N , Martín , V , Silva , M , Edler , R , Reyes , C , Carrillo , M , Schiavi , A , Morales , T , García-Ovide , B , Sanchez-Mora , A , Garcia-Tavero , N , Steiner , L , Scheer , M , Gockel , R , Walker , D , Villa , E , Szlama , P , Eriksson , I K , Tejedor , M , Perez-Gil , M , Quaresma , J , Bachara , W & Carroll , E 2017 , ' True’s beaked whale ( Mesoplodon mirus ) in Macaronesia ' PeerJ , vol 5 , e3059 . DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3059
Copyright © 2017 Aguilar de Soto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.